“Red Pepper” staff arrested in Uganda

UPDATE: On 27 November 2017, the Buganda Road Court charged the Red Pepper editors and directors with seven counts including libel and offensive communication (HRNJ-Uganda). Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of eight senior employees of the Kampala-based Red Pepper tabloid, arrested on 21 November, and for the reopening of the newspaper, which was closed the same day. The eight employees arrested during an anti-terrorist police raid on Red Pepper'sheadquarters were directors Patrick Mugumya, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, James Mujuni and Johnson Musinguzi Byarabaha, financial manager Richard Tusiime and editors Ben Byarabaha,…Read more

Nigerian journalist Ikechukwu Onubogu killed by gunmen

Media Foundation for West Africa In the third of such a tragic incident in Nigeria since the beginning of 2017, unknown gunmen shot and killed a journalist working with the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS). Ikechukwu Onubogu, a cameraman with ABS based in the state capital Awka, was found dead, four days after he was reported missing by his family. According to the Premium Times newspaper, Onubogu on November 12, 2017 picked up his camera and left home in response to a phone call from an unknown person.  After failing to return home or…Read more

Distinguished UK Journalist Robin Esser Dies

It is with the greatest regret and sadness that we record the death of CPU Trustee Robin Esser. As well as being a distinguished journalist, Robin was a tireless campaigner for press freedom not just in the UK but throughout the Commonwealth. We will greatly miss his wisdom, his energy and his passionate support for free media. The greatest tribute we can pay him is to continue our work to protect and promote press freedom wherever it is under challenge.Read more

Indian police arrest journalist on charges of alleged extortion and blackmail

Committee to Protect Journalists Indian regional police arrested freelance journalist Vinod Verma on October 27, 2017, on claims that he used a sex tape to extort and blackmail a minister from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Chhattisgarh region-- claims the journalist denies, according to news reports. A committee member from the BJP in Chhattisgarh lodged a complaint against Verma on October 26, alleging an anonymous threat to release objectionable videos of the minister if he did not pay hush money, according to The Indian Express, which quoted unnamed sources from…Read more

2017 Astor Award Commemorative Ceremony in Karachi

  Owais Aslam Ali, Chairman of the Pakistan Press Foundation, accepted the 2017 Astor Award for press freedom at a commemorative ceremony hosted by The Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA)  in Karachi. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNZaaf_AvMYRead more

UK Foreign Secretary announces free speech funding

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has today (Thursday) committed UK support for freedom of expression projects in countries where press freedom is curtailed. Today, on the International Day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, Mr Johnson has committed to spending £1m over the next financial year on projects that will enable journalists and media professionals to promote their own free press and uphold human rights. Funding will be available for press freedom projects in countries where media freedom is under significant pressure. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: Freedom of expression is a…Read more

Theme for CHOGM 2018: ‘Towards a Common Future’.

Young people will be at the heart of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London next April. That’s according to the UK prime minister, Theresa May, as she launched the theme for CHOGM 2018, ‘Towards a Common Future’. She set out four main goals for the biennial meeting: prosperity by boosting intra-Commonwealth trade; security by greater cooperation to tackle global terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime; fairness through promoting greater diversity and good governance; and sustainability by building resilience among small, developing and vulnerable states to deal with climate change. “For the…Read more

Indian police arrest journalist on charges of alleged extortion and blackmail

Indian regional police arrested freelance journalist Vinod Verma on October 27, 2017, on claims that he used a sex tape to extort and blackmail a minister from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Chhattisgarh region-- claims the journalist denies, according to news reports. A committee member from the BJP in Chhattisgarh lodged a complaint against Verma on October 26, alleging an anonymous threat to release objectionable videos of the minister if he did not pay hush money, according to The Indian Express, which quoted unnamed sources from Raipur police in the…Read more

Pakistan: Investigative journalist Ahmad Noorani injured in attack

On October 27, 2017 Ahmad Noorani, an investigative journalist of the English-language daily The News International was assaulted by unidentified men in broad daylight at a busy intersection in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Noorani's car was intercepted by six assailants riding on three motorbikes. They severely beat Noorani and his driver with iron rods after throwing out the keys from the ignition. The attackers attempted to snatch Noorani's mobile phone but failed. The attackers later escaped in motorcycles that did not have license plates. Both men sustained injuries to their heads…Read more

Ugandan editors charged over presidential age limit stories

Two Ugandan newspaper editors were quizzed by the police's Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) over age limit budget stories. On 16 October 2017, Daily Monitor Executive Editor, Charles Odoobo Bichachi and Red Pepper Deputy News Editor Kintu Richard were quizzed for over three hours each. They were both charged with 'Offensive Communication/ Libel' and a General Inquiries File was opened. Daily Monitor lawyer James Nangwara described the charges as "malicious only meant to put the media off track" while the Red Pepper Legal Officer Byamukama Dickens told HRNJ-Uganda that the charges were baseless and…Read more